Tag Archives: Republican presidential candidates

Bigot of the Week Award: February 24, Gov. Chris Christie

24 Feb

Bigot of the Week

Surprising no-one, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie bucked the trend of equality sweeping the nation this week by vetoing a marriage equality bill passed by his state’s legislature. Thank you to my friend and LGBT ally Sara Carmona for her nomination of Christie. Despite pressure from advocacy groups, local politicians of both major parties, and a phone call from Washington Governor Christine Gregoire (who had just signed a similar law), Christie played politics with the civil rights of thousands of New Jersey citizens.

The Governor continues to hide behind a two-pronged attack on equality. First, he maintains that changing marriage law should be put to a vote of the people, an absurd claim that civil rights require a stamp of majority approval. This is also an ironic dodge given that all recent polls show a safe majority of New Jersey citizens supporting full marriage equality. Second, Christie points to New Jersey’s civil union law, saying that separate but equal should be just fine for the gays. REALLY? Wasn’t that concept thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court fifty years ago, Governor?

It’s very clear that Christie is playing the political odds here. He wants to run for president in 2016 (being too afraid to challenge President Obama this year) and can’t risk a pro-equality vote that would alienate the slavering hordes of tea party types that vote in Republican primaries. As equality sweeps the nation, however, that move may be a major miscalculation as equality may well be the standard by the time he tries to run. He certainly wasn’t prepared for the strong backlash as demonstrated in this bloviating, ineffective attempt at defending his position.  Christie, yet another Republican on the wrong side of history!  Christie better be careful, for the Gay Agenda will be watching his actions!

A sad dishonorable mention this week goes to Daniel Porkorney, the mayor of La Grande, Oregon, who posted anti-equality statements (including approval of Christie’s action) on his Facebook page. He quickly learned the lesson so many celebrities have learned — online words will bite you — as his community mounted a petition demanding his resignation and forced a strong apology.


Happy Birthday, Dr. King: Welcome to 2012.

15 Jan

Happy Birthday, Dr. King

While the national holiday is not until tomorrow, I thought it would be nice to recognize Dr. King’s actual birthday.   In 1994, President Clinton signed legislation – put forward by Sen. Harris Wofford (D,PA) and Rep. John Lewis (D, GA) – which transformed the decade-old holiday. The goal was to challenge Americans to use the day for citizen action and volunteer service. As noted on the official site for the day, “It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems.”

Lest we forget, however, one of our Presidential Candidates, Ron Paul said about MLK Day:

Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.

Talk about blatant racism and white privilege at work.  Shame on you, Ron Paul!  Shall we also look at the racist and privileged comments from GOP Presidential contender, Newt Gingrich:

The fact is if I become your nominee we will make the key test very simple — food stamps versus paychecks. Obama is the best food stamp president in American history.  More people are on food stamps today because of Obama’s policies than ever in history. I would like to be the best paycheck president in American history.

Now there’s no neighborhood I know of in America where if you went around and asked people, would you rather your children had food stamps or paychecks, you wouldn’t end up with a majority saying they’d rather have a paycheck.

And so I’m prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I’ll go to their convention and talk about why the African American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps. And I’ll go to them and explain a brand new social security opportunity for young people, which would be particularly good for African American males because they are the group that gets the smallest return on social security because they have the shortest life span.

Wow!  Where do I even start to deconstruct the racism here?  God forbid we address the system that keeps a marginalized population from accessing resources and just address food stamps.  I also just love it when a white hetero millionaire has the chutzpah to tell black folk what they need and what they need to do.

Let us move on to multi-millionaire (Mormon) Mitt Romney.  The Mormons did say it was okay for black folk to be included in 1978–how white of them! Rather than let the man’s faith define him, however, let us listen to Romney’s words:

You strengthen the American people by securing our borders and by insisting that the children who come legally to this land are taught in English.

These men say they want to lead our country. It is clear that they want to be the President of the white, the powerful, the privileged. Anyone who falls outside that power structure must be doing something wrong and doesn’t deserve their aid or support until they can emulate privilege. How sad that nearly 50 years after Dr. King told the nation that he had a dream, one party’s choice for leaders would transform that dream into an archaic nightmare.

Let us celebrate Dr. King and his legacy today. Let us celebrate the brave and wise people who helped build a foundation so that dream could become a reality: Bayard Rustin, Coretta Scott King, Rosa Parks, John Lewis. Let us take the challenge of civic engagement embedded in this holiday. But certainly, let us not offer our highest office to those who would ignore this legacy, this hard work, and would rather see a nation of growing divide, where their own power is extended while millions suffer.

I shall leave you with a small excerpt from Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

 I love this excerpt because it applies to all marginalized populations outside of the dominant white heterosexual power structure.  Our task, our duty is to enfranchise ALL.  Happy Birthday, Dr. King.

Bigot of the Week Award: January 6, Rick Santorum

6 Jan

Bigot of the Week

Congratulations to Iowa’s Republican caucus voters. They’ve just given momentum and credibility to one of the most bigoted presidential campaigns of all time. Rejected Senator Rick Santorum was already infamous for his rabid anti-gay, anti-woman stands. He made nearly 150 campaign stops in Iowa promising to stick by his history and was rewarded with a virtual tie in Tuesday’s vote. While his campaign is still a long-shot, the boost he received from his last-minute surge has provided Santorum with an ongoing platform for his words of hate. He has argued with college students about marriage equality, continuing his irrational comparisons with polygamy. On the O’Reilly Factor, he managed to surprise even that bastion of illogic with his extreme stand, maintaining that as President he would force a Constitutional “one man, one woman” amendment and then work to ensure that all legally performed marriages between same-sex couples were invalidated. It takes some doing to stand out as the most potentially dangerous in this pack of candidates. Rick Santorum earns yet another BWA by doing his best to prove he’s the one.

Am I the only one wondering what is hiding in his “closet?”

Election 2012: Compare the Candidates with Your Own Positions

3 Jan

Let the voter beware!

As the nation prepares to have the Republican slate of Presidential candidates become even more confusing with today’s Iowa Caucuses, TSM has found a useful tool for understanding where all the hopefuls stand on eleven key issues. This very useful matching tool presents a simple question (as it might be framed in a debate) and then gives a number of possible answers. After selecting the best match for each topic, the user is presented with a top three match. The candidates included are the seven active Republicans (Bachmann, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Perry, Romney, Santorum) and President Obama. This provides one with the opportunity not just to see where the Republicans stand, but to see just how different our President is than those who would compete with him.

As with any tool, this one has its flaws, but they are minor given how clearly it illustrates the intentions of the candidates. TSM’s biggest objection is the heavy focus on things that have cropped up in recent budget battles (taxes, Medicare, Social Security, Defense) at the expense of any mention of job creation and the limited presentation of civil rights (marriage equality, but nothing on reproductive choice (talk about misogyny) or freedom of speech and assembly). Based on the way the tool works, this is probably a result of needing clear statements from all the candidates on any issue presented, but it still leaves some big questions about all eight included hopefuls. The other challenge  also arises from the way the answers are provided. In at least three cases, we were unable to pick a single answer that matched our preferred position and had to select “None of the above” (For example, the question on immigration I checked “none of the above” because all of the options were blatantly racist, as none of the options regarding marriage equality were acceptable). This is because the options given are real answers from the candidates. If your answer isn’t there, none of them would be a perfect match. It is easy, however, to highlight each candidate’s stand on each issue for more information.

Come November, we’ll have to choose between President Obama and one of the sailors on the Republican ship of fools. There will be a lot of noise and confusion between now and then. Let’s be careful to remember where the candidates really stand on the important issues.

Click here to take the quiz yourself.

Number 2 Bigot of the Year 2011: GOP Presidential Candidates

30 Dec

Number 2 Bigot of 2011

The title of the article could have easily been Ship of Fools.  What an embarrassment of riches we have with this misogynistic, homophobic, classist, racist, group of rancid tea-baggers.  Thank you to the many TSM readers for nominating the GOP Presidential candidates–I’m sure it did not come as a surprise that I was already on the same track. Perhaps regular reader Jay put it best in his nomination of:

…the Republican Party, especially the embarrassing cohort which is seeking that party’s nomination for President, and the party’s Congressional “leadership.” The second major party of the US has veered dangerously off-course, with potential and real tragic effects upon not only the US and its citizenry, but the world at large.

This coagulation of corrupt and crazy candidates is so awful that even Republicans cannot seem to find one they like. Perpetual self-denier Mitt Romney is the marginal leader, but he’s so toxic that almost every other joker in the pack has had a shot at the top. As TSM contributor Lex “WebWordWarrior” Kahn noted in his nice overview of the candidates, even before any of them got heavy press there was much to dislike. As each has flared into and out of prominence, their baggage and their utter disdain for the people they would lead has become clear. Perhaps nothing has been so damning, however, as their own words and actions during the incessant stream of debates. From Mitt’s pandering to Newt’s frothing to Perry’s babbling they have all shown their true ugly colors, perhaps none so much as hypothetical Libertarian Ron Paul and his blithe acceptance of the death chants from the audience. As the primaries and caucuses get underway next week the pack will thin and we’ll get to learn a lot more about a smaller number of these rabid monsters. Let’s hope that ugliness proves to the American people how lucky we are to have the President we have.

Flashback to 2010: The #2 Bigot last year was the U.S. Supreme Court’s Fecal Five.

Wednesday Word of the Week, November 9: Memory

9 Nov

Puzzled Potential Presidential Pachyderm

This week’s word is MEMORY

the power of retaining and recalling past experience — Macmillan Dictionary Online

One more failing of the current crop of GOP Presidential candidates seems to be a lack of this power.

The best example is Pizzaman Herman Cain, the heir-apparent to Clarence Thomas. Facing allegations of sexual harrassment from his time at the National Restaurant Association, Cain has managed to forget the answer to every question asked. One wonders if his next move will be to forget that he ever worked there at all.

Serial flip-flopper Mitt Romney is also a convenient forgetter, and he hopes the Republican electorate will be as well. Universal health care? Might have happened while he was Governor of Masschusetts, but who can recall? In his efforts to pander to every teahadist demand, he reinvents himself daily.

Some examples are more pathetic. Apparently Michele Bachmann forgot she was a crazy woman with a gay husband. Rick Perry forgot that he was an idiot. Newt Gingrich forgot that nobody liked him in the first place. Why would that change now? (Ironically, the pack is so damaged, that even Newt’s fatally damaged craft is rising on the tide of not-those-other-guys.) And they say that elephants never foget…

The prosepct of any of these people becoming president is scarier all the time. Who needs a national leader who forgets the which Korea is our ally? My advice for voters, forget this bunch of losers.

Wednesday Word of the Week, October 5: Purity

5 Oct

Great for soap, lousy for candidates.

This week’s word is PURITY

being undiluted or unmixed with extraneous material

This quality is being used by the Republican base to measure their candidates for President. In this case they are not judged to be necessarily pure

having no faults; sinless

but adherent to all the tenets of the most vocal and virulent members of the party.

Given the rabid nature of these candidates, it should be terrifying to any thinking, compassionate, or reasonable person that any of them are insufficiently pure. Yet somehow, they are. To brew a sufficiently bitter cup of tea, one must

  • Oppose any form of equality for LGBT Americans
  • Refuse to allow women to make any choices about their own bodies and health care
  • Oppose any approach to immigration other than deportation
  • Protect corporate interests at all costs, despite the impact on the average American
  • Reject any increases in taxes or revenue, even when levied against the wealthiest 1% of Americans

Rick Perry? He’s been nice to brown people (plus there’s that whole vaccination scandal, which, while it served a corporate donor, involved forced medication and was therefore socialist). Michele Bachmann? Pretty pure, but mysteriously her favorables fell rapidly when Perry, initially an equally nutty candidate who had the benefit of a penis, showed up. Herman Cain? He talks about taxes a lot and, well, the GOP is a big tent and all, but he’s >gasp< black. Rick Santorum? He sure hates gays enough, but his tax record is a bit weak. Mitt Romney? Does he really stand for anything other than getting elected? He’s too shallow even for the Republicans. Get the picture?

Democrats are faced with a more nuanced problem. We know who our candidate will be, but many of us are disappointed and frustrated with his approach to leadership. That’s all well and good, but we cannot afford to let that frustration turn into apathy. As we pointed out on TSM earlier this week, President Obama has done a great deal already, enough to merit our support. A whole, charmingly-titled website is devoted to reminding us that, flaws aside, our President has done much of what he promised on the campaign trail.

Could he do more? Could he lead more forcefully? Certainly. But we are not Republicans.

Let the Teahadists bloody all their candidates. Let them strive for so much ideological purity that they present such a distasteful disaster that even the rightward center is repulsed. It may be early, but the election season is, sadly, in full swing. Democrats need to show we support the man who will clearly be the best choice come December 2012. Once he’s back in office, we can continue to push him. While he needs our enthusiasm, however, let’s show the Republicans that there is something more important than artificial purity

something difficult that you succeed in doing, especially after working hard over a period of time


(All definitions courtesy of Macmillan Dictionary Online)

Wednesday Word of the Week, September 28: Polls

28 Sep

This weeks's favorite flavor of tea.

This week’s word is: POLL

the process of asking a number of people their opinions about something, especially a political issue

In an already interminable season of Republican campaigning, this weekend saw a surprising upset in what was considered a very important poll. The Florida Presidency V straw poll, which Florida Criminal-in-Chief, I mean Governor, Rick Scott said “would determine the next President of the United States” was won by Herman Cain.

That’s right, out of all the candidates, relatively obscure former pizza magnate Herman Cain won the poll with 37%, more than second place finisher Rick Perry (15%) and number three Mitt Romney (14%) put together. This shocking event occurred in the wake of Perry’s bumbling performances in the past few Republican debates.

Curiously, Michele Bachmann, who won the Ames straw poll a few weeks ago, finished dead last of the eight candidates, behind even Jon Huntsman. Her star has certainly fallen since Perry’s dramatic official entry into the race, but the disconnect between the two polls is quite startling.

Let’s recap the facts, shall we?

  • Perry still wins national polls about a preferred Republican nominee by a small but comfortable margin.
  • Perry has yet to be ranked a winner of any of the debates and becomes very petty and petulant as they proceed.
  • Romney comes out ahead of the Republican pack in most hypothetical match-ups against President Obama.
  • Bachmann won the Ames poll but has had very negative momentum since then.
  • Cain came from nowhere to win the Presidency V poll but has no real national standing; this could change, of course, as his name recognition skyrockets.
  • Santorum, Gingrich, and Huntsman hardly seem to matter at this point, but can perhaps take heart from Cain’s sudden success.
  • Ron Paul remains an anomaly, polling in the lower reaches but with a strong core of support who seem to trend toward “none of the above” if he’s taken out of the mix.

It’s hard to draw any strong conclusions from this, but one thing is clear: every Republican candidate is flawed and vulnerable and there is no real consensus in the party. The most likely voters want a Teamonster like Perry, but less dogmatic conservatives want someone (reasonably) articulate like Romney or Cain.

It’s early days still, despite the 437 debates the Republicans have held. Early in the 2004 campaign it was clear that the Democratic nomination was Howard Dean’s to lose, which, with the help of a hostile and shallow media, he did. In 2008, nobody thought McCain stood a chance of gaining the nomination, which he did long before the Democratic contest was settled.

In the end, there will be a Republican candidate, and none of the eight clowns in the contest will be good for America. Let’s hope they can bloody each other enough that the victor’s vulnerabilities are clear. Let’s hope that President Obama can demonstrate some real leadership and make the final contest as clear cut as possible. After all, he needs to win at the polls that really matter:

the place where people vote.

Definitions taken from Macmillan Dictionary Online

Wednesday Word of the Week, September 14: Veracity

14 Sep

Useful equipment for candidate speeches.

This week’s word is: VERACITY

conforming to the truth or fact; accuracy – Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Lately this seems to be not just a problem for some of our nation’s political figures, but an intentional option. Why bother with facts or the truth if you can just adjust your comments on the fly?

The most blatant example is Senator Jon Kyl (R – AZ), who attacked Planned Parenthood in April. Kyl said on the Senate floor that 90% of Planned Parenthood’s business was providing abortions, an error of 3000%. When he was caught in this lie, he responded through a spokesperson that the comment

was not intended to be a factual statement.

What? He makes a specific claim clearly intended to affect public policy that was never meant to be true? I suppose that we should, somewhat ironically, appreciate his transparency about the comment, but why did he make it? What possible purpose did he have in lying to his colleagues and the American people other than to promote his personal agenda over provable reality?

Sadly, this kind of dodge has grown more artful as the Republican presidential hopefuls have begun their campaigning in earnest. There are many examples, but two stand out, especially since they come from the winner of the Ames Straw Poll (Bachmann) and the current front-runner in the pre-primary polls (Perry).

Michele Bachmann took advantage of natural disasters, displaying her typical crass lack of sympathy with the American people, to maintain that Hurricane Irene and the east coast earthquake were signs of God’s wrath.

I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’

Apparently, God was angry at the size of the U.S. budget deficit (a nice change from His more typical wrath at the gay community à la Pat Robertson). When called out on her gross insensitivity, Bachmann took a Kyl and said that her words were simply a METAPHOR

a word or phrase that means one thing and is used for referring to another thing in order to emphasize their similar qualities – Macmillan Dictionary Online

Let’s be generous for a moment and assume that Bachmann actually knows what a metaphor is. In that case, she meant to say that lethal devastation was similar to God’s wrath, not the real thing. How does that differ in principle? She’s still saying that innocent people should suffer because the Congress of which she is a member can’t balance a budget. Culpability, insult, and ignorance all in one backpedal, that’s pretty amazing. Of course, we could skip the metaphor excuse and go with her other, contradictory explanation, that she was simply being HUMOROUS

full of or characterized by humor; funny – Macmillan Dictionary Online

Which is it, Michele? A bad analogy or a tasteless joke? Do you know the difference?

Just when the separation of truth and state seemed to reach its peak, enter Rick Perry. Perry has famously maintained that Social Security is unconstitutional, not just in speeches but in his book, Fed Up. During his first debate performance, he referred to this vital program as a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie.” When (surprise, surprise) such comments polled very badly with most Americans, Perry took a Kyl as well.

Suddenly, he issued statements maintaining that anyone currently on Social Security should not fear for its viability, nor should anyone about to enter eligibility. What does that mean, Rick? That those people should be comfortable living a monstrous lie? That your presidency would do nothing to end an unconstitutional practice? That you support bankrupting future generations with a scheme you loathe just to get a few more votes?

Mitt Romney is famous for his flip-flops, trying to hide from his past by reinventing his positions. As venal and manipulative as he may be, Bachmann and Perry have lowered the game to a whole new level. What a travesty when Romney rises to the top of the ethical heap.

Americans must pay attention. In this cynical age, most people have come to expect their political leaders to delivery carefully crafted messages to each demographic, to make promises that garner votes regardless of their political viability. What an horrific shift if we let people vying for our highest office simply retract or recast their statements. Candidates, stand by your policies and we will vote accordingly. You’re only human, you’re allowed to make mistakes; when you do, say “I was wrong.” If that doesn’t happen very often you’ll gain credibility and we’ll know where you stand. Own your words. That’s

the quality of behaving according to the rules and standards of your job or profession – Macmillan Dictionary Online

INTEGRITY, a principle of leadership.

Wednesday Word of the Week, August 17

17 Aug

Which Perry is speaking now?

This week’s word is: SECEDE

to officially leave an organization. This word is used especially about a state or region that chooses to become independent and govern itself.

The latest loon to start swimming in the Republipond of Presidential hopefuls is Texas Governor Rick Perry. How ironic that someone who has threatened to have his state secede because of “oversized Federal government” wants to be President of the UNITED

characterized by unity; being or joined into a single entity

States. This should come as no surprise, of course. Perry is a master of conservative double-speak and hypocrisy.

When New York joined the modern world and approved marriage equality this year, Perry said that was a states rights issue (like secession?) and nothing more. His campaign, however, would push for a Federal constitutional amendment to limit marriage to heterosexual couples. How is that not over-reaching Federal intrusion, Rick? And why an amendment, anyway? Having said that the United States went “really off the track” with every amendment after the 15th, why do we need another, Governor?

About that oversize government, by the way: any particular reason that the Perry administration accepted over $16 billion dollars in stimulus funds? How about Texas receiving more Federal disaster relief funds than any other state since Perry took office? It seems that praying for rain doesn’t work nearly as well as demanding money from an “overreaching” Federal government. He’s a candidate who calls himself “pro-life” while allowing his state to execute over 200 people. He says “The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we inhabit are not only critical elements in the quality of life we enjoy – they are a reflection of the majesty of our Creator.” while funding a dozen new coal-fired power plants because any other decision would “cripple business.” There is virtually no stand this man has taken that doesn’t contradict something else he has said or done.

The pond was already full of scary fowl (pun intended). Perry jumping in just makes it clear what the Republicans have to offer. That he and Michele Bachmann are the current front-runners makes it clear that every thinking American must support President Obama, however frustrating he may sometimes be. Why would our union want someone who says he would secede?

Then again, maybe he learned vocabulary from Michele and thought he said

to replace someone in an important or powerful job or position

SUCCEED. We just have to make certain he never does.

All definitions courtesy of Macmillan Dictionary Online.

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